Goals, Part 2|
Last Time we talked about goals and creating a “roadmap” so let’s go into a bit more detail regarding the “honest assessment of your current situation and resources”. Once you look at all of these elements chances are you’ll want to develop them in some fashion. Then you’ll want to work on that roadmap using the tools you have just catalogued. It won’t be easy and you will almost certainly be forced to make some very tough choices.
Where do you live? If you live in Florida and want to work in the motion picture industry your options are extremely limited since Florida’s film industry is relatively small. Don’t misunderstand. There is a ton of work in commercials, fashion, print, etc. but not that much in film. In all fairness though, there is a growing independent film community but it’s darn near impossible to make a living off of it so, for a full time career in the industry, the best options are extensive travel or relocation.
Have you done this before and at what level? Wanting to be a director is admirable but if you’ve only ever videotaped the waving relatives at your sister’s wedding or the neighbor’s Bar Mitzvah, you might want to start expanding your horizons and try to create some practical work experience for yourself. Being an armchair filmmaker only makes you a critic. Get out and create. It doesn’t have to be good but you have to try.
Have you had any training? This obviously goes hand in hand with experience, but I want to be clear. By training I don’t necessarily mean formal education. While there are a number of schools that teach various aspects of the filmmaking craft, in many cases practical experience is the best training. While formal education has some definite positives, one of the best being an overview of all of the potential things you could do that relate to film, being a production assistant on a major motion picture will afford you the opportunities to see how things work on set and/or in a production office thereby providing the exposure you desire AND the experience you need.
Do you know anyone in the industry who can help you or refer you to someone who can? The whole six degrees of separation thing could work in your favor if you attempt to develop friendships and contacts with industry professionals. Now, by develop friendships and contacts I don’t mean that you should calculate the worth of the people you come in contact with by what they can do for you. What I do mean is that the nature of the film industry is a little bit symbiotic. There can be a great deal of “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” going on which isn’t a bad thing if everyone involved is aware of what’s happening. The other aspect of developing contacts is networking. Get out and meet people. Go to film clubs and Union meetings, go to seminars and workshops, etc, etc, etc. There are hundreds of ways to make contacts in the industry… USE THEM.
This is a big one because it can entail so much and it certainly touches on all of the things that went before it. You will need to ask yourself: What sacrifices are you willing to make? Are you willing to relocate to New York or Los Angeles? Are you willing to travel? If you are, are you willing to miss out on Birthdays, Holidays, and the important life events of your loved ones? Will you work as a waiter so that you can have a flexible schedule? Will you work a series of low-end jobs that you can walk away from at a moments notice just so you can work on a film? These are just some of the questions that you will need to answer when deciding just how committed you are, but remember: There is no right or wrong level of commitment it’s a completely individual thing.
As you can see all I’ve really done is give you a few ideas and some hard questions to ask yourself. So let's recap: First, set some goals about what you want to do, but be realistic. Next, plan your path to greatness, by figuring out how you’re going to make it happen. Finally, determine what resources you can use to accomplish this or determine which resources you need to develop. Good luck.
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